Malia Obama headed to Harvard after 'gap year'

By UPI Staff  |  May 1, 2016 at 12:07 PM
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WASHINGTON, May 1 (UPI) -- President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle announced their eldest child, Malia, will attend Harvard University beginning fall 2017 after taking a year off.

The Obamas made the announcement in a two-sentence press release Sunday, saying their 17-year-old will take a "gap year" before beginning at Harvard. She will be in the Class of 2021.

President Obama had previously shared some advice he'd given college-bound Malia back in September: Don't worry too much about which school you choose.

The where-will-she-go fever never died down after Malia made headlines in 2014 by wearing a Stanford T-shirt on a bicycle ride with her father, the Washington Post reported.

The wild guessing game got in to full swing with first-family watchers piecing together clues and following her visits to more than a dozen colleges. Many wondered if she attend any of her parents' alma maters? Would she head to the west coast? Would she stay closer to D.C., where the post-White House Obamas plan to reside until Sasha, 14, graduates high school?

Malia Obama is set to graduate from the prestigious Sidwell Friends School in Washington in June. The president said recently when asked to speak at the commencement but turned down the offer, "I'm going to be wearing dark glasses... and I'm going to cry," ABC News reported.

While the president and the first lady adopted a code of silence about their daughter's specific college choice, they have said previously that the topic of college admissions was a regular part of the family's nightly dinner conversation.

"The one thing I've been telling my daughters is that I don't want them to choose a name," Michelle Obama told the editors of Seventeen magazine in an article published last month. "I don't want them to think, 'Oh I should go to these top schools.' We live in a country where there are thousands of amazing universities. So, the question is: What's going to work for you?"

Michelle Obama is a Princeton graduate and a graduate of the Harvard Law School. The president is a Columbia graduate and also got his law degree from Harvard.

"Just because it's not some name-brand, famous, fancy school doesn't mean that you're not going to get a great education there," the president told a group of high-schoolers in September.

The White House, which has always closely guarded the details of Malia and Sasha Obama's comings and goings, made no further comment on Malia's college choice or why she decided to a year break between graduating high school and heading off to college.

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